Sunday, November 13, 2016

My November Blessing

There is something about November that takes me back to childhood.  To the gray skies as I walked to school with a cold wind and raindrops falling sideways, getting under my umbrella.  I think of it feeling gray outside and a bit lonely, and that the bright yellow lights of my classroom seemed welcoming and cozy as I hurried past the crossing guard.

We'd hang our slickers in our pine cubbies and warm our hands over the furnace vent and try to dry off with the rough brown paper towels.  We'd go to our desks and get out our pencils and our already grubby erasers and get ready for reading group (I was in the cardinals). 

The world was a big gray comforter surrounding my school, my teacher knew everything there was to know about everything, I was with  friends. Who knew what exciting thing might happen today in music class?  And it would feel like all was right with the world. 

I'd be wearing my tights and my wool plaid skirt and my cotton button up top, and I'd be reading a story about a little Sioux Indian girl (we didn't call them native Americans yet) and I'd just be frustrated as heck that that word was pronounced 'sue'.  It made no sense!

I'd  smell paste, taste our mid-morning milk break from the waxy cartons (so fancy, my family only got milk in old glass bottles), see the faded construction paper scraps, and  happily listen to my teacher talk about cumulus clouds.  When I walked home at lunch-time my mother was sure to have Campbell's chicken noodle soup with grilled cheese and if I was really lucky, hot cocoa as it finally felt wintry enough outside to make some. 

By about 2:30 I'd had enough, and watched the clock-hands refuse to move just like every other kid, for that last 60 minutes of each day.  As I stomped through every puddle on the way home, the sky would seem brighter, and the rain had stopped, but it still felt later than it should feel.  I'd be anxious to get home, not stopping to look for frogs in the creek or any of the other distractions I might find in August or April.

In November, it was important to get home, turn on the tv, and start laughing at Gilligan.  Smell supper cooking (probably pork chops and applesauce), try to avoid any kind of chores, and when Sherry came to the door to ask me to come out to play, I might say 'Not today.'  November made me want to stay inside, and stay close to my humans.

Today as I drive home on a gorgeous sunlit day, with the November sunshine shedding light in a particularly warming way, highlighting every last leaf, it made me appreciate every single leaf still hanging onto those tree branches.  It made me want to pray for each individual leaf.  Yet it made me homesick for those second-grade Novembers.    And it reminds me that each month, even blustery November has its blessings. My November blessing is remembering.

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